Pups, people raise money at Humane Society 5K

Chris DiMeo

Food, fun and furry friends await participants at the 18th annual Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society 5K walk.

The 5K will take place at the Bowling Green Regional Airport on Saturday with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the walk kicking off at 10 a.m.

After participants are registered, a Humane Society truck will bring shelter dogs and pair them with walkers. Participants can choose bring their own animal to walk or register ahead of time to walk one of the shelter dogs.

Registration involves picking up a brief registration packet from the Humane Society Adoption Center on Old Louisville Road and finding “sponsors” to pledge donations. Though no sponsors are required, participants who raise $30 or more get a free 5K t-shirt.

The route for the walk is a leisurely loop stretching from the airport, down Wilkinson Trace and back, which can be walked or jogged. Throughout the track, water stations will be set up with kiddie pools for the dogs and cups of water for humans, and a van provided by Dog’s Day Out will follow behind the walkers to pick up any animals or humans who can’t walk the entire route.

When participants reach the airport once again, booths will be set up providing free food or selling merchandise, Leah Lawrence, director of the Humane Society’s Adoption Center, said.

Lawrence added there will also be kiddie pools for the dogs to play in and raffle drawings and music to listen to while sitting on the lawn and eating together.

In the past, booths have included food from King of the Grill, R.C. Cola and Corner Bakery, and an array of vendors from Dog’s Day Out to the Bowling Green Hotrods.

Not only is the 5K meant to connect potential adopters with available dogs, but it also provides money to keep the Adoption Center running, Lawrence said.

“Most people don’t realize that our Adoption Center is funded completely on donations,” she explained via email. “So we really need events like this to keep our lights on.”

The 2016 walk had approximately 200-300 human participants, she estimates, which doesn’t include the dogs that accompanied those people. In addition to their donations raised, a number of event sponsors have also made the walk possible, she said. This includes Montana Grille, Candy’s Campers, Rafferty’s and many others.

WNKY Weather, whose spokescanine, Radar, regularly attends the walk, predicts the temperature on Saturday to be a comfortable 70ºF. There is a high chance of scattered thunderstorms throughout the day, though in previous years the walk has continued despite heavy rain.

WKU students looking to get service hours or just lend a helping hand have plenty of opportunities to get involved, Lawrence said.

“Pick up a bundle of our registration forms and share them with your friends,” she said. “Participate in the walk and invite others to join you.”

Preparations for the walk have already begun over at the Adoption Center, including participants reserving shelter dogs to walk and donations being submitted.

“We are so excited!” Lawrence exclaimed.